The Government has announced it will scrap the “deadbeat dad” rule that allows taxpayers to deduct childcare costs from their income tax.
The Prime Minister’s Department said the change will not affect taxpayers who pay for childcare for their own children.
“It is clear from the evidence on the current data that this rule will result in taxpayers losing a significant amount of tax revenue,” the department said in a statement.
It said the rules would be scrapped if the Government passed a law requiring the rules to be re-evaluated.
Key points: The changes are due to go into effect in April, meaning parents would be able to deduct up to $2,000 for childcare expenses that have taken place since the rules were introduced in 2014.
There will be an additional penalty of up to half of the amount of childcare costs that are deducted.
Taxpayers who do not meet the new threshold would have to repay any tax benefits that are accrued.
This will also apply to non-resident children, but only if their parents are in Australia.
In a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Taxation, the Government said the changes would bring “fairness and certainty to the taxation of parents” who are not able to meet the $2.5 million threshold.
Parents who have not yet met the threshold would not have to be assessed for tax deductions under the new rules.
What is the ‘deadband’ rule?
The “deadband” rule, which was introduced in October 2014, was designed to prevent taxpayers from getting “dumped” on their tax bills because they did not pay enough income tax in a particular year.
Under the rules, taxpayers were required to claim child care expenses for their children in a lump sum if they had earned enough income to meet their tax obligations.
However, the rules allowed parents to claim more than one child at a time if their income exceeded $50,000 a year.
Under the new rule, parents would only be able “to deduct the amount by which the child’s tax liability exceeds $50k a year”.
Parents could only claim the “full amount” of childcare expenses when their tax liabilities were $5 million or more.
A “dead band” rule meant parents who had less than $5m in their tax accounts could only be eligible for a refund of up for $2 million of tax paid on their children.
The rules were designed to stop parents who were in “dire financial straits” from “dumping” on the tax bill.
At the time, Labor’s former treasurer, Brendan Nelson, warned the changes could “put a damper on the very good job of supporting parents with children”.
“The Prime Ministers intention is to encourage and support parents who have the resources to manage their own finances,” he said.
Why did the Government decide to scrap the deadband rule?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Government has decided to scrap a deadband policy.
His spokesperson said the rule “was not designed to encourage deadbeats and was a response to a very real situation” and that the changes were being made “to ensure we are providing fairness and certainty for taxpayers”.
“We are removing the ‘Deadband’ scheme as part of our commitment to provide fairness and simplicity to the tax system.”
What will it mean for parents?
What this means for parents: If your income is above the $50K threshold, you will no longer be able a claim for child care costs.
You will no long be able claim tax benefits.
For taxpayers who are under the $5M “deadhead” threshold, your child care payments will be counted as tax on your tax return.
But if your child’s parent is in Australia, you can claim child-care expenses on your own tax return as long as your parent is resident here.
If you are an Australian-based child and your parent’s parent does not have a residency permit, they can still claim the child- care expenses.
Children under 16 years of age will still be able, for example, to claim childcare expenses for a single parent.
How much will it cost?
The changes to the child care rules will be phased in from April 2019.
From then, the changes will apply to the following parents:A parent whose child is aged less than 16 years (under the $25K threshold)A parent with an eligible child aged less 18 years (below the $15K threshold).
A parent aged less then 18 yearsA parent over the age of 18 years(under the “Deadband” threshold)How to claim?
If your child is under the age or at least 18 years of old, you should contact your local Tax Office.
The Child Care Allowance is a subsidy to pay for child-related expenses.
This will help parents who cannot afford to pay childcare costs.
It also covers the costs of child care for eligible children